Autocorrect gets a vernac makeover

Language is a vital aspect of culture, I should know I work in communications. More than just words, language directly affects how we express ourselves. Language is so important to us that our first democratic government decreed in 1994 that our country should have 11 official languages.

Autocorrect doesn’t recognise vernac languages and uses English as its communication method of choice. A solution to this problem has come from a surprising source – Savanna Cider. This proudly South African cider, which is much loved for being unapologetic about its crisp, witty commentary on the ironies of South African life, is ducking tired of autocorrect. And so they have set out to make Autocorrect vernac-friendly with a simple hack.

“As the brand with the distinctive bite, Savanna is not afraid to call out the truth. Although we are a diverse country, and speak many languages, according to our smartphones, there’s only one language – English. Autocorrect is killing our ability to unapologetically express ourselves in our mother tongues,” explains Eugene Lenford, Marketing Manager Savanna at Distell.

Autocorrect doesn’t change words saved in your phone’s contact list.  So Savanna created contact files for each of the other 10 languages and populated the surname and notes fields with the 500 most-used words in each language and made the files available for users to download and save. Doing this effectively “teaches” your phone that language and sets you free to text in your mother tongue.

“As the maverick of the cider world, Savanna didn’t want to wait for a solution – instead, they brought South Africans an innovative hack to fix the problem. It’s a simple tool that can actually help South Africans celebrate their culture and heritage on a daily basis and help them to be true to who they are and where they come from,” concludes Lenford.

Want to end vernac autocorrect fails? Go to and follow the prompts. You can also follow @SavannaCider and click on the link.


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